SF Economy not suitable for a SciFi game


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Nerdy Canuck[/quote wrote:
Some random person off the street just is not a threat to a Star Wars protagonist

For the star wars game system or the star wars universe?

I mean, Jedi are horribly overpowered and immune to mooks, but chewie's gotten taken out by a mook with a gun.

Quote:
Science Fantasy characters can be so powerful as to be safe from ordinary threats, and Sci-Fi characters can't.

I don't think that's a genre staple but rather something on the light/gritty axis.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it’s premature to launch into comparisons. I’m curious what definition of “science fantasy” you use.

Earlier, it was clear there was a disconnect between what you took for “dungeon crawl” and what some others did. I find it useful to find out people’s underlying definitions in that situation (since the dispute is likely to just be one of terminology).

The closest I can piece together is “a subset of science fiction, where protagonists can become powerful enough to be safe from ordinary threats” but I suspect there’s more to it than that.

And just to confuse things, I think both are distinct from what the original poster's understanding and concerns were.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, I agree.

To me Shadowrun was the first, almost archetypal science-fantasy game. However, I’m curious to hear a succinct definition which excludes it.


Just for the sake of reference, wiki has this to say about what the science-fantasy genre is:

"Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy."

And then it goes along to explain that when you cross the line into fantasy is when you include elements that violate scientific laws, even if you couch them in scientific talk/technobabble.

So yeah, Shadowrun is almost by definition in the umbrella of science-fantasy (having literal magic and all) although it certainly isn't the first instance of it since the term's existed since the early 1900s when pulp magazines were the main pushers of science fiction/fantasy.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Just for the sake of reference, wiki has this to say about what the science-fantasy genre is:

"Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy."

And then it goes along to explain that when you cross the line into fantasy is when you include elements that violate scientific laws, even if you couch them in scientific talk/technobabble.

So yeah, Shadowrun is almost by definition in the umbrella of science-fantasy (having literal magic and all) although it certainly isn't the first instance of it since the term's existed since the early 1900s when pulp magazines were the main pushers of science fiction/fantasy.

To clarify, I meant first science-fantasy RPG.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Just for the sake of reference, wiki has this to say about what the science-fantasy genre is:

"Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy."

And then it goes along to explain that when you cross the line into fantasy is when you include elements that violate scientific laws, even if you couch them in scientific talk/technobabble.

So yeah, Shadowrun is almost by definition in the umbrella of science-fantasy (having literal magic and all) although it certainly isn't the first instance of it since the term's existed since the early 1900s when pulp magazines were the main pushers of science fiction/fantasy.

To clarify, I meant first science-fantasy RPG.

Mm. That might take some more digging to verify. I personally believe that someone would have adapted a golden age sci-fi type game before the local cyberpunk one but I have no examples off the top of my head (and suck with dates anyway).

Well, first thing that popped into my mind for Science Fantasy was Spelljammer which was published in 1989 coincidentally the same year as SR. Might dig more later.


Was spelljammer science fantasy, or just fantasy that happened to be set in space?

Does fantasy set in space qualify as science fantasy?


I wouldn't call Spelljammer science fantasy, it's literally just D&D that happens in space-ish places sometimes.

Aside from some 'space races,' there's no real attempt to use science to explain anything (for players, generally their 'spaceship' is just a regular old boat, with sails and an open deck, that can fly through space because magic, and through interstellar space because of slightly different magic.)


Garretmander wrote:

Was spelljammer science fantasy, or just fantasy that happened to be set in space?

Does fantasy set in space qualify as science fantasy?

Spelljammer space isn't even space. The stars are literally lights on the ceiling of the world in Spelljammer.

Spelljammer is just weird interplanetary fantasy.


Do you need a definition of science fantasy to define Starfinder? I mean, it's a fantasy RPG with some sci-fi trappings, do you need more than that?


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avr wrote:
Do you need a definition of science fantasy to define Starfinder? I mean, it's a fantasy RPG with some sci-fi trappings, do you need more than that?

Not strictly necessary, especially since we can just look at Starfinder to tell what it is, but that particular phrasing is pretty uncommon for what's often considered science fantasy. It's far more often more "science fiction with some fantasy elements" often with a sci-fi paint job - psionic powers instead of magic, alien energy beings instead of gods and demons. Star Trek, for example, is often labelled science fantasy both for it's not very realistic technology and the presence of mental powers and cosmic aliens.

Starfinder is far more of a straight fantasy/science fiction hybrid than most science fantasy. It's got all the standard fantasy stuff plus all the standard science fiction stuff all mashed together.

Sovereign Court

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I think Starfinder comes from "what if we took a fantasy world and let them develop technology" and Shadowrun comes from "what if magic came back to a technological world".

The classic Shadowrun mission is corporate espionage/heist: steal a prototype, perform industrial espionage, abduct a scientist, assassinate a pesky environmentalist. The PCs are rarely planning to permanently occupy any corporate building because eventually reinforcements will come. They need to get in, do the thing that needs doing, and get out before it gets too hot. There is no concept of "level appropriate challenge".

I'm not sure if you can yet talk about the archetypal Starfinder adventure, but I think it does have more in common with D&D's sort of things. Liberate the town from the Azlanti invaders. Stop the doomsday cult. Investigate the ruins of a precursor civilization.

But much more than Pathfinder, Starfinder flirts with the sort of stuff we know from Shadowrun. Break into the corporate facility to find out why they've been sabotaging the Starfinder Society's efforts in the Scoured Stars. Infiltrate the prison (moon) to rescue your friend.


Ascalaphus wrote:


The classic Shadowrun mission is corporate espionage/heist: steal a prototype, perform industrial espionage, abduct a scientist, assassinate a pesky environmentalist. The PCs are rarely planning to permanently occupy any corporate building because eventually reinforcements will come. They need to get in, do the thing that needs doing, and get out before it gets too hot. There is no concept of "level appropriate challenge".

Technically there isn't such a thing as a level appropriate challenge is due to the way the game's designed more so than theme. An Ares Predator is an Ares Predator whether you're a 0 karma chump or a massive karma chump and that same Predator will (generally anyway) serve a runner as a fine weapon for their entire career barring bolting on more attachments and whatnot since weapons will generally get their targets dead no matter when in your career you meet them.

That said, not all challenges are made equal even in that context (IE you send a squad of Red Samurai with L3 Wired Reflexes against a squad of fresh runners and the latter will be a pile of meat faster than you can say 'chunky salsa') but it's still a far cry from Starfinder where levels are hardcoded into the system and your Level 1 Predator will be a useless paperweight in 3 odd levels since that's how the system and monsters are designed.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would argue that the Pathfinder setting provided plenty of support for the kind of Shadowrun style missions, possessing both fairly sophisticated nation-states and trans-national organizations, both of which have enough power and scope that its much better to do sneaky infiltration rather than just bust in swinging swords. The classic "dungeon crawl murder hobo" campaign is based very heavily on the idea that law and consequence are highly local, which is simply not the case for a good half of the known world, minimum.

Sovereign Court

Eh. You can run a passable imitation of each game in the other game system. Pathfinder's gone a long way from being just a dungeoncrawler, with books like Occult Adventures, Ultimate Intrigue, Ultimate Campaign etcetera you can pick out some extra subsystems to take your campaign in any direction you like.


Ascalaphus wrote:

But much more than Pathfinder, Starfinder flirts with the sort of stuff we know from Shadowrun. Break into the corporate facility to find out why they've been sabotaging the Starfinder Society's efforts in the Scoured Stars. Infiltrate the prison (moon) to rescue your friend.

It flirts, but doesn't really do it well (Just look at Signal of Screams 2)

The leveled approach, the equipment system (both the pricing and how you can openly carry around anti tank weapons to be level appropriate) and so on do not really make sense in a more traditional world (including sci-fi ones). They stick out like a sore thumb when you try to run a Starfinder group through a Shadowrun scenario and the more houserules you add to make it more logical the more unbalanced the game becomes as it has never been designed to function in a sci-fi society (poor Soldier while the Operative is hardly affected) and instead is geared towards crawling through dungeons far away from society and law enforcement.


level based does not equal fantasy (lord of the rings was an E6 campaign)

set hit points does not = sci fi.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

level based does not equal fantasy (lord of the rings was an E6 campaign)

set hit points does not = sci fi.

No, but SciFi has very different expectations when it comes to beliveability than fantasy and a level based system makes it harder to meet those expectations.

In fantasy it is ok for characters to be much more powerful than the average man, to go through lawless wilderness slaying things to loot or otherwise posses hand crafted, rare magical weapons no one else has access to.

But SciFi is a very different situation. You have industrial societies where it does not make sense for prices to rise exponentially for stuff that comes from an assembly line. And especially to gate things behind levels. Why would the PCs not be able to order some better serums to cure afflictions when they have the money from spaceamazon? How would you even check for someones level in such a setting and why would healthcare be gated behind it?
And while people can accept the idea that in a fantasy city the town guard is rather powerless and you can get away with much this is hardly the case in a non-dystopian SciFi city. Camera surveilance, modern and futuristic forensics, etc.
And while its far less believable that the police would not respond in force when something happens like crawling through an office building like it were a dungeon (Signal of Screams 2).
And how does the police work in a leveled work anyway? Would they be equipped with level appropriate weapons? Why? And do they respond with level appropriate forces? Or can one policeman take on a whole gang because of level differences (or one gang, say the PCs, being able to fight of the whole police of the city?)

Starfinder ignores pretty much all scifi concepts entirely and instead is standard fantasy with lasers. Someone asked why we would need another Gamma World. Let me ask a counter question, why did we need another Pathfinder which pretends to be a scifi game when in fact its just another medieval fantasy RPG with slightly different paint on it?

Sovereign Court

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Ixal wrote:
No, but SciFi has very different expectations when it comes to beliveability than fantasy and a level based system makes it harder to meet those expectations.

SciFi fiction runs a whole gamut from writers who can barely do basic math, to the technobabble of Star Trek, to hard SciFi authors who worry about momentum and trajectories and where several chapters of a novel can be about just how to get from one orbit to another. There is no single level of what is considered acceptable or believable in SciFi.

Ixal wrote:
In fantasy it is ok for characters to be much more powerful than the average man, to go through lawless wilderness slaying things to loot or otherwise posses hand crafted, rare magical weapons no one else has access to.

There's enough of this white man macho scientist stuff going on in SciFi too.

Ixal wrote:
But SciFi is a very different situation. You have industrial societies where it does not make sense for prices to rise exponentially for stuff that comes from an assembly line. And especially to gate things behind levels. Why would the PCs not be able to order some better serums to cure afflictions when they have the money from spaceamazon? How would you even check for someones level in such a setting and why would healthcare be gated behind it?

The pricing model for Starfinder leveled items actually makes sense, considering that the price is equal to the raw materials needed (UPBs), and that it takes individuals with a particular amount of skill ranks to even make them. Level 1 items might roll off the assembly line, but only level 10+ people can make level 10 items. Apparently they're not all that easy to make.

Ixal wrote:

And while people can accept the idea that in a fantasy city the town guard is rather powerless and you can get away with much this is hardly the case in a non-dystopian SciFi city. Camera surveilance, modern and futuristic forensics, etc.

And while its far less believable that the police would not respond in force when something happens like crawling through an office building like it were a dungeon (Signal of Screams 2).
And how does the police work in a leveled work anyway? Would they be equipped with level appropriate weapons? Why? And do they respond with level appropriate forces? Or can one policeman take on a whole gang because of level differences (or one gang, say the PCs, being able to fight of the whole police of the city?)

Yeah, this is pretty much a premise of Starfinder that sets it apart from Shadowrun. But keep in mind that all SciFi isn't the same as Shadowrun. "You're just a small mosquito and the corps can slap you down any time" is really a signature premise for Shadowrun. Don't project it over everything else. "The protagonists really are special" is a pretty common premise, as is "it takes big heroes to deal with big threats".

Starfinder (and Pathfinder) are much more like a Die Hard or superhero kind of genre than they are to dystopian "die in a gutter" stories. The Gotham police department is out of its depth, they need PC Batman.

Ixal wrote:
Starfinder ignores pretty much all scifi concepts entirely and instead is standard fantasy with lasers. Someone asked why we would need another Gamma World. Let me ask a counter question, why did we need another Pathfinder which pretends to be a scifi game when in fact its just another medieval fantasy RPG with slightly different paint on it?

Because I enjoy it! I like the hero-empowerment premises of Starfinder!


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Ixal wrote:
But SciFi is a very different situation. You have industrial societies where it does not make sense for prices to rise exponentially for stuff that comes from an assembly line.

You keep jumping around between the hit point system and the item system and the society. They're not the same thing.

For the items: Look at the descriptions of the high end weapons. They have materials like black hole density hammers, single molecule thickness swords, and heart of a star ruby crystal lasers. Even in the future that is NOT coming off of an assembly line. Look at what thor had to do to make stormbringer. Thats the sort of thing a science fantasy level 20 weapon takes.

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In fantasy it is ok for characters to be much more powerful than the average man

Science fiction definitely allows this too. It's kind of tony starks schtick. Jedi are one man armies.

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Why would the PCs not be able to order some better serums to cure afflictions when they have the money from spaceamazon?

Same reason as our world. The better stuff is hard to make, has a patent on it, requires a doctor to administer it without the nanites "fixing" your puny organic brain by replacing it with superior nanites.. that sort of thing.

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How would you even check for someones level in such a setting and why would healthcare be gated behind it?

It's not checking for level. I can have 10 grand, i still can't buy a machine gun. You have to know people who have access to that kind of thing. It takes a while to be that well known.

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And while people can accept the idea that in a fantasy city the town guard is rather powerless and you can get away with much this is hardly the case in a non-dystopian SciFi city. Camera surveilance, modern and futuristic forensics, etc.

I don't see this happening in the setting. Usually if the PCs are going all john wick without consequences it's because they're somewhere that's canonically described as lawless (like akiton)

I think you have things mixed up in your definition of science fiction that aren't science fiction.


Ixal wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

level based does not equal fantasy (lord of the rings was an E6 campaign)

set hit points does not = sci fi.

No, but SciFi has very different expectations when it comes to beliveability than fantasy and a level based system makes it harder to meet those expectations.

In fantasy it is ok for characters to be much more powerful than the average man, to go through lawless wilderness slaying things to loot or otherwise posses hand crafted, rare magical weapons no one else has access to.

But SciFi is a very different situation. You have industrial societies where it does not make sense for prices to rise exponentially for stuff that comes from an assembly line. And especially to gate things behind levels. Why would the PCs not be able to order some better serums to cure afflictions when they have the money from spaceamazon? How would you even check for someones level in such a setting and why would healthcare be gated behind it?
And while people can accept the idea that in a fantasy city the town guard is rather powerless and you can get away with much this is hardly the case in a non-dystopian SciFi city. Camera surveilance, modern and futuristic forensics, etc.
And while its far less believable that the police would not respond in force when something happens like crawling through an office building like it were a dungeon (Signal of Screams 2).
And how does the police work in a leveled work anyway? Would they be equipped with level appropriate weapons? Why? And do they respond with level appropriate forces? Or can one policeman take on a whole gang because of level differences (or one gang, say the PCs, being able to fight of the whole police of the city?)

Starfinder ignores pretty much all scifi concepts entirely and instead is standard fantasy with lasers. Someone asked why we would need another Gamma World. Let me ask a counter question, why did we need another Pathfinder which pretends to be a scifi game when in fact its just another medieval fantasy RPG with slightly different paint on it?

I don't know, but judging by its popularity, it seems we did.

Prices for some things do rise exponentially even in the real world, even with modern manufacturing techniques - compare the cost of a Cessna to a F-35. Or a retail drone to a Predator.
Or drug prices, for that matter.

The level gating is kind of hand-wavy, but conceptually it's not sellers "checking your level", but higher level characters having better connections to get not normally available technology, either legally or not.


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Here's the thing, though. Starfinder doesn't look like regular Sci Fi, because Starfinder isn't a future version of Earth. There's numerous differences between how Earth-human societies advance to a Sci Fi setting vs the Golarion societies from whatever year Pathfinder ends and Starfinder begins.

For example: The ubiquitous video surveillance we're starting to see on Earth, and that always shows up in Sci Fi, probably either doesn't exist or came to exist on a whole different timeline in Starfinder, what with there being magic (both 'people' based and from various Outsiders) that does the same thing. Do you think if we had reliable access to scrying magic on earth, we'd have so many video cameras?

To that end, Starfinder seems like a pretty faithful representation of what would happen if you futurized(TM) Old Golarion. Starfinder may not be Pathfinder in space, but it certainly seems to be a sci fi version of Pathfinder.


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Starfinder Superscriber

Do you even need cameras in a world where Object Reading exists? Or Detect Thoughts? Or Zone of Truth? Does it even make sense to buy one in a world where Invisibility exists? Or serums of appearance change? Or disguise self?

Cameras in that world would be like doors or windows without locks, security theater.

While I would like a little more Shadowrun in my starfinder, in places. For example, I'd love an AP or SFS modules set around Dragon corps on Triaxus or weapons manufacturers on Apostae or the like. A lot of what's 'true' in Shadowrun wouldn't be 'true' in this universe for a number of reasons.


Cameras at least make you spend the resources on methods to overcome them (a whole party isn't going to use Invisibility very often), and let you police the masses. Detect Thoughts and Zone of Truth are only useful after you've captured the guy to repeatedly hit him with that or Mind Probe until he fails a save, and the camera footage can help you ID him for capture (unless he's using a disguise, of course, which you should always be doing).


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The main advantage of technology over magic is that most technology can be created and used with no special training.

In the Starfinder setting, I get the distinct impression that the number of spellcasters is too many to control but too few to rely on.


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Considering holoskins only cost 500 credits and last for three hours and twenty minutes on a battery, and the 'default' azimuth laser pistol costs 350 Cr, I'm pretty sure every petty criminal has a holoskin.

Cameras for monitoring are still pretty useful. They aren't likely to tell you who did something, only what.

Edit:

David knott 242 wrote:


The main advantage of technology over magic is that most technology can be created and used with no special training.

In the Starfinder setting, I get the distinct impression that the number of spellcasters is too many to control but too few to rely on.

Creating magic requires ranks in mysticism just like creating technology requires ranks in engineering.

In the starfinder setting, creating magic items is exactly as easy as creating technological items, and outside things like spell gems, just as easy to use.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is Mysticism a class skill for any non-spellcasting class? While any character could take ranks in that skill anyway, having that or Engineering as a class skill could definitely bias which one people are more likely to get training in and thus which type of item is more reliably available.

Other than that, it looks like anything that could be made and used by 1st level non-spellcasting characters should be widely available and relatively cheap, even if it is ultimately magical in origin. The key question seems to be how easily a corporation can fill a factory with workers able to make the item in question.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Mysticism is a class skill for solarians.


Eh, considering NPCs aren't limited to PC options...

The question is more, 'are low level magic items in big enough demand that corporations hire people capable of crafting them?'

Once corporations are hiring, people will learn the skill.

Clear & iridescent spindle aeon stones are useful and cheap, especially the clear spindle stone is likely in demand, especially among travellers and explorers who have to pack their food with them.

Everyone wants a six pack of serums of healing in their medicine cabinet - there's certainly demand there.

Charge cloaks are also likely a good seller - they let you save a bit if you're dependant on recharging stations, or helpful to get a bit more use out of your cellphone equivalent when you're in the boonies.

I'd think most people buy a serum of appearance change a few times in their life. 75 Cr for a full blown makeover is a steal.

Starstone compasses are likely cheap novelty items sold in every convenience store.

So, yeah, there's definitely demand for mysticism trained factory workers.


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Man walks into the spacedoctor. Gets a healing serum for a concussion.

"Hey doc, how do you know when to shut off the nanites before they take over?

Doc says "10101010101010.. i mean experience.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
HammerJack wrote:
Mysticism is a class skill for solarians.

That is what I suspected. While Solarians technically are not spellcasters, they aren't exactly mundane types either.

So that would actually confirm my suspicion that there are far more people in the Starfinder universe who are trained in Engineering than who are trained in Mysticism.


Most likely, but I don't think the reason is that spellcasters and PC classes trained in mysticism are rare.

The real reason is likely that there can only be so many companies mass brewing serums. There's probably only one company mass producing starstone compasses.

There's a lot demand for low level magic items, but there isn't a lot of variety like there is for tech items.


Starfinder Superscriber

I can't wait to play all the 'Big Potion' stuff coming soon.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
...

Please stick to the examples I used. I specifically did not use a weapon but a serum. Why do you need to be level 2 to buy a better healing serum? There is no real training involved. If you take it from a corpse (the usual way how to get stuff in Starfinder) you can use it without problem.

Or why do you need to be level 2 to purchase a valet drone? Or level 3 to buy a Imperial Conquest boardgame? Why would those be gated behind level? How do you measure level anyway?

It has nothing to do with "knowing the right people" when even common objects are gated. Likewise you do not need to know anyone. You can go to some uninhabited moon with level 1 and start killing wildlife, come back level 5 and instantly have access to more stuff.

And can you please point me to any SF adventure where the police is actually a factor? In SoS it certainly isn't and are specifically disinterested in the PCs even after they storm and shoot up an office building in the middle of the city, receive mail bombs and get attacked several time by heavily armed mercenaries in broad daylight in the middle of the city which they fight of possibly using high powered explosives and military grade weapons depending on the group makeup.
So where exactly are the consequences for going "John Wick"? Any guidelines in one of the adventures how to handle law enforcement when the PCs do it?

thejeff wrote:

I don't know, but judging by its popularity, it seems we did.

Prices for some things do rise exponentially even in the real world, even with modern manufacturing techniques - compare the cost of a Cessna to a F-35. Or a retail drone to a Predator.
Or drug prices, for that matter.

The level gating is kind of hand-wavy, but conceptually it's not sellers "checking your level", but higher level characters having better connections to get not normally available technology, either legally or not.

If you compare a civilian aircraft to a military drone there will of course be price differences. But a Predator C is not more expansive than a Predator A. Same for the Reaper and its successor the Avenger. And a 1911 Colt is actually more expensive on the market than a modern Glock.

And as I said above, the connection explanation makes no sense when common objects are also gated by level.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think credit rating might be the main restriction on buying stuff in the Starfinder setting.

For example, if you want to buy an Imperial Conquest game, it is most likely that your local vendor does not have it in stock. If he trusts you and has evidence that you can afford it, he will special order it for you. If he doesn't trust you, you might have to lay down the money in advance before he will order it for you, and odds are that a really low level character simply won't have the money.

In my Starfinder game, I am fairly sure that none of the 1st level PCs tried to buy anything above 2nd level because they simply could not afford it.


The level limitation is really there to prevent PCs pooling cash for an overpowered weapon or something similar. It's not a big deal if you ignore it for situations where it doesn't make any sense for their to be legal restrictions and it doesn't harm game balance, like a serum or utility tech item.


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Ixal wrote:

Please stick to the examples I used.

No.

That the item level idea has some wonky parts doesn't mean that it never works.

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I specifically did not use a weapon but a serum. Why do you need to be level 2 to buy a better healing serum?

Because the police don't like it when you can shrug off bullets by drinking something as fast as they can shoot you.

It may be fine when used on a healthy adventurer but be addictive/have side effects/ kill other users.

Did you know there are parts of the world where it's illegal to send a game console? (the processing power is actually fast enough to run missile codes on it and since they sell below cost its the cheapest computing power per dollar around)

I mean you need a license to get a dog but anyone can have a human being. Find me something weirder than that...

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Or why do you need to be level 2 to purchase a valet drone?

Android liberation front requires drone owners to be vetted ?

You can reprogram them to fight,commit crimes, spy on people.

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It has nothing to do with "knowing the right people" when even common objects are gated. Likewise you do not need to know anyone. You can go to some uninhabited moon with level 1 and start killing wildlife, come back level 5 and instantly have access to more stuff.

Hail daniel boon!

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And can you please point me to any SF adventure where the police is actually a factor?

Acts of association

Data breach
Dead suns 1

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So where exactly are the consequences for going "John Wick"? Any guidelines in one of the adventures how to handle law enforcement when the PCs do it?

SFS uses infamy . Other campaigns probably need the DM to step in.

Part of the reason the whole cowboy cop thing works in a science fiction setting is that there's so much ROOM to go out and be a cowboy cop...go. do that.. out there, away from civilization. We don't care. Just don't do it HERE.


The Economy of Starfinder is a abstraction of an actual economy, just as combat is an abstraction of actual combat. It is not meant to be realistic (either one).

Shadowrun and Starfinder and GURPS Space and Star Trek and Star Wars and Firefly and Cyberpunk are all different genres in Sci-Fi, and all different types of games. They all do some form of hand waving/abstraction and none of it is perfect.

Personally if you dislike a game this much, there are literally a hundred other games you can play (you could pretty much recreate Starfinder in GURPS if you want something more "realistic" for example).

They point is are you having fun? If not why waste your time with this game?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ixal wrote:

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You can go to some uninhabited moon with level 1 and start killing wildlife, come back level 5 and instantly have access to more stuff.
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And can you please point me to any SF adventure where the police is actually a factor?

Acts of association

Data breach
Dead suns 1
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

As for going to an uninhabited planet and killing random animals. Not in my game you don't. A GM does not have to award you squat for random killings.

Try that in my game and ISETA (Intergalactic Sentients for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is all over your behind.

As for examples of SF and law enforcement.

In my campaign using SF modules. The PCs do not act or exist in a vacuum!!! (well except when they are in a vacuum).

If the player's are in any sort of civilization, that civilization has some sort of laws, that the residents of that civilization expect the PCs to follow. If they don't there will be consequences.


My formatting was awful on previous post......sorry to all.


Starfinder Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:


For example, if you want to buy an Imperial Conquest game, it is most likely that your local vendor does not have it in stock. If he trusts you and has evidence that you can afford it, he will special order it for you. If he doesn't trust you, you might have to lay down the money in advance before he will order it for you, and odds are that a really low level character simply won't have the money.

This is pretty close to the mark, I think. Virtually everything in SF is made with UPB and it's often custom made for the user. It isn't necessarily that noone would trust you with a level 4 video camera, it's that noone trusts you to come back to the store and pay for it after they custom make it with the UPB printers in the local mini-factory and have it air dropped.

You can buy higher level stuff in big cities in part because if you didn't show up to pick it up, there's less risk that someone else won't want one too at some point in the near future.

The item level system is an abstraction that covers a lot of scenarios. Licenses to own it, credit scores, doctor's prescriptions, connections with vendors, connections with criminals, access to commercial or military grade equipment, et cetera. It is by no means perfect but as an abstraction for all of that, it works pretty well. I'd much rather have that than any of the alternatives I've seen in other games. (But that's just my personal opinion and anyone is certainly free to disagree.)


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Ive played in Cyberpunk games with fully developed license systems for weapons, equipment etc. It worked for that system, but it was a slog. I like abstracting all that behind a level gate. If the party need something beyond that gate, well theyre gonna need a heist or something to pull it off.

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